Sixers fans will have to sit and be patient while No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid gets healthy. Credit: Getty Images
Sam Hinkie asked for patience when he took over as general manager. Now he’s begging for even more.
Is that possible?
Well, it has to be from this starved fan base.
One season removed from watching Nerlens Noel sit out an entire season to rehab an injured ACL, Hinkie made two moves in the first round of the NBA Draft. Both selections brought big men to the Sixers.
But neither player may suit up this season.
At No. 3, the Sixers took the ever-improving Kansas center. It was a bold move considering he just had surgery to fix a stress fracture in his right foot. Embiid could miss five-to-eight months and may not appear in a regular season game until the 2015-16 season. He’s got incredible talent and could wind up being one of the top centers in the league. He could also turn out to be Sam Bowie. Hinkie could have played it safe and taken a proven player who is able to contribute immediately. He went for Embiid and the long-term approach. Grade: A
The 20-year-old Croatian has signed to play professionally in Turkey for the next two years – possibly three if an option kicks in. The Sixers drafted point guard Elfrid Payton at No. 10 and traded him to the Orlando Magic for the rights to the 6-foot-10 Saric, who was taken 12th. Again, this is about acquiring pieces and planning for the future. It may be tough to sell this to the fans, but it’s an out-of-the-box move. If it works out, the Sixers could be the geniuses in three years. Grade: B+
The 6-foot-6 small forward from Clemson is a stellar defender from a power conference in the ACC. McDaniels, taken at No. 32, should be a solid addition to a Sixers team which desperately needs defenders. Grade: B
At No. 39, the Sixers drafted the Syracuse forward. Grant, the son of former NBA player Harvey Grant, improved immensely with the Orange last season and put himself in position to be picked. Grant is a terrific rebounder and very athletic around the basket. His upside is huge. Grade: B
The Sixers traded the rights to Louisville guard Russ Smith (No. 47) to the New Orleans Pelicans for guard Pierre Hackson. Ironically, Jackson was part of last year’s trade which sent Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans for Noel. Jackson is a very good shooter and this has to be considered low risk-high reward. Grade: B
The Serbian guard was picked at No. 52. Not much is known about him, but at this selection, why not? It works for the San Antonio Spurs. Grade: C
The Sixers took McRae at No. 58. McRae averaged 18.5 points per game for Tennessee last season and will have a chance to prove his mettle in training camp. Grade: C
Overall, the Sixers drafted a lot of players and picked up assets. They’ll likely finish in the lottery again considering the health and whereabouts of their first round picks. Next season, Hinkie will go back to work and add more pieces.
This is a risky process, one that could lead to eventual parades down Broad Street. It could also lead to future rebuilding.